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07 Jun 2011

Overheating
Hi there,

Are there any dangers of overheating during exercise? I do spinning everyday and some of the instructors refuse to put the fans on. I sometimes feel sick and dizzy and had cramps in my abdominal area when getting too hot in the class.

Please let me know. I really think it is a myth that you burn more calories the hotter it is in the class> 

Thanks
Jade
Answer 375 views
Expert
FitnessDoc
fitnessdoc

01 Jan 0001

Hi Jade

There's a danger of feeling hot, which obviously compromises performance, and in very rare cases, athletes are able to push themselves over a limit that we all have. Our bodies have this built-in "failsafe" where once we hit 40 degrees, we stop exercise. Even Olympic athletes, racing for gold medals and money, stop, but some individuals can get to this ceiling, others can't.

I think what you're describing is more exertional. Our body protects us by allowing these feelings of fatigue, exhaustion etc, specifcally so that we don't cross that barrier. So yes, it's possible, but it actually happens 1 in 1000 cases. What does happen is that the sensation of fatigue is so uncomfortable as we try to get there that it can feel like overheating. i'd bet that when you feel hot, you're not actually that hot - maybe 39 degrees, but not dangerous. But you feel it, and that's your body saying slow down, back off.

In terms of burning more calories, maybe a very small increase, because the stress response is higher. But the problem is that if exercise is self-paced (in otherwords, you can slow down), then you do, and in the end, you just exercise slower in the heat than in cool conditions. So ultimately, no, you're no better off in the heat!

Ross
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